In preparation for the release of the Grace Tankini, we’ve been preparing a few tutorials for you. Swimwear sewing is doable for the home sewist, and every tip and tutorial helps you achieve a more professional look. Today we’re talking about power mesh.
Power mesh is a lightweight, sheer fabric used to add extra compression or support to swimwear. The best power mesh fabric to use for swimwear is made from a nylon spandex blend, and has a 4 way stretch. The amount of stretch varies, so you should look for power mesh with similar stretch properties to your main swim fabric and lining.
Speaking of lining, the most common application of power mesh is to add it to the wrong side of your lining. Stay tuned for the tutorial below on just how to do that. But power mesh can also be used in place of the lining altogether.
Why to Use Power Mesh:
Reasons you might want to add power mesh to your swimwear are: extra compression power, extend the life of your suit, and modesty if your main fabric is thin. Keep in mind that the extra compression power may require you to go up a size when making your swimwear. This is both because power mesh often has less stretch than regular swim fabric, and also because every layer of fabric you add to your suit can mean less stretch overall.
Power mesh is also often used as the briefs in men/boys swim trunks. It comes in many different colors and even a few prints. You should wash and dry your power mesh in the same way you plan to launder your finished suit. For us that means a cold water wash and a line dry.
Power mesh usually costs between $3 and $15 per yard. We’ve linked to some sources we recommend for power mesh below:
Power Mesh White Fabric from Fabric.com
Performance Fabric Power Mesh Tango Red from JoAnn Fabrics
How to Use Power Mesh:
Now here’s a tutorial on how to add power mesh to your swimwear. In this tutorial, the power mesh is nude colored, the lining is white, and the main swim fabric is red and white striped.
Just like all swim wear fabric and lining, power mesh is easer to cut flat instead of on the fold. Also, we find it easier to get a more accurate cut when using a rotary cutter rather than a scissors. When you have your power mesh cut out, pin it to the wrong side of your lining fabric. (If your lining doesn’t have a right or wrong side, just choose one!)
Baste the power mesh to the lining fabric inside the seam allowance (closer to the raw edges) around all sides of the pattern piece.
Here you can see the power mesh is now basted to the lining fabric. Sometimes the basting causes the lining to curl up a little around the edges. This is no biggie, and it will stop once you remove your basting stitches.
Above you can see the right side of the fabric now has a line of basting stitches close to the edge.
Pin your lining pattern pieces together as according to the pattern instructions, keeping in mind the power mesh is on the wrong side of the lining fabric. Remember to use ballpoint pins so you don’t snag your fabric when sewing swimwear.
Sew your lining pieces together with a stretch stitch. You can see how this line of sewing is outside the 1st basted line of thread. After this step, remove your basting stitches if desired.
Finally, sew the lining to the main fabric as instructed. You can see the power mesh is sandwiched between the main fabric and the lining.
There you have it: how and why to use power mesh in your swimwear sewing. Leave us your thoughts about power mesh below!
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